Tempted to use off-campus housing instead of the dorms? Sure you can!!!! Although some colleges have rules regarding students staying on campus, many times it is allowable to stay off campus. You CAN deduct this cost as a qualified higher education expense when taking distributions from a Qualified Tuition Program, aka 529 plan.
Among other possible reasons….this is sometimes desirable so that the student can have a roommate that doesn’t go to the school, having a nicer/bigger/more amenity laden place or so they may be closer to their job, family, etc.
The amount deductible though is limited to what the school considers the allowable room and board amount for determining financial aid OR, if it is the greater, the amount to live OFF-campus for room and board if the off-campus housing is owned & operated by the college/university. You can call the school or check the school website to determine what the allowable amount might be. If the actual off-campus expenses are LESS than that allowable amount then the expense is limited to that lesser amount.
COMPUTERS AS A QUALIFIED EXPENSE!!!! YAY!! The recently passed PATH ACT, signed into law, December 18, 2015, now allows distributions for the following qualified educational expenses as long as they are used primarily by a student during the years they are in college: computers and related equipment and software. Prior to this the expenses had to have been REQUIRED by the school as a condition of attendance which was rarely the case.